Friday, April 8, 2005

Dangerous Shell Game

Each and every time I hear someone extol the virtue and safety of nuclear power it drives me crazy. How can anyone possibly believe that such an energy source -- whose byproduct in infinitesimal amounts is lethal for hundreds and thousands of years -- could EVER be considered safe?

Compared to nuclear waste, coal doesn't seem so bad!

Don't misunderstand me, I'm not here to shill for the coal industry. Most people know that coal is what we call a dirty fuel. It fowls the air and water. It also causes severe health issues.

Yet, for all the negatives of coal, it's certainly NOT as lethal as radioactive waste. A person could sit in a coal bin for a few minutes and, as long as they didn't stick their face into the coal dust and just suck it in, they could walk out to lead a normal life.

I don't know anyone who would suggest trying this experiment with nuclear waste. For one thing, it might just kill you on the spot. If, by chance, you were unlucky enough to make it out alive, it would certainly cause your life to be one of misery.

I bring this to your attention because the U.S. Energy Department is strongly considering moving "an enormous pile of radioactive waste off of the banks of the Colorado River in southern Utah" to a more sparsely populated area to the north.

It seems there are growing concerns that a flood -- the waste sits in a floodplain -- could cause the waste to contaminate drinking water that is used by over 25 million people.

Now, on a superficial level, this appears to be a good strategy. No one wants the people of L.A., Las Vegas or Phoenix to die or become sick in the event of a flood. The problem here is that, wherever they move the crap, people's lives will be endangered. Therefore, it turns into a dangerous and potentially deadly shell game.

I'm sure the people who live in or near Crescent Junction and Moab are none too thrilled with the new proposal. (For a point of reference, Crescent Junction sits on Interstate 70 and Moab is due south of Arches National Park.) To be certain, a lot fewer people live in these locales, but is the government saying THEIR lives are less important than the people in Las Vegas or L.A.?

For me, this clearly illustrates why we need to shut down the nuclear industry today. I know that some folks will argue that nuclear energy is less expensive than other energy forms (though that's ONLY true because of heavy government subsidies). To that, I say, who the hell cares?

The creation of nuclear energy creates a byproduct that is lethal to everything we hold dear -- ourselves, animals, plants, the life of our planet. No one has developed a way to detoxify it and we certainly haven't discovered ways to store it safely.

It's like we're merrily making a large noose to hang ourselves with!

Bush and the conservatives have lately been harping on the new buzz-phrase a "culture of life". How can anyone embrace the culture of life while supporting an industry that is building day-by-day and minute-by-minute the machinations of planetary death?


  1. You make a good point about nuclear waste, but here in Marion County we produce just as much 'lethal' waste in the form of dioxin that has a life span of thousands of years. Buried in our ash pits from the Brooks burner is a great deal of contaminated ash. Does the public care? Maybe if they knew about it.

    You say, "How can anyone possibly believe that such an energy source -- whose byproduct in infinitesimal amounts is lethal for hundreds and thousands of years -- could EVER be considered safe?"

    1)those in power conspire to misinform and hide the facts;
    2) people refuse to take an interest in learning the facts trusting others to do it for them; and
    3) lack of a really open government decision making process.


  2. So Susann,
    When are you going to start your own blog so you can expose this information to the world? You're the leading expert on this subject! If nothing else, you should at least write an article for Salem Monthly


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